Rugby league player facing sexual assault charges suspended

SYDNEY — The National Rugby League has instituted a new policy to deal with players charged with criminal offenses, and St. George Illawarra forward Jack de Belin was immediately suspended under the revised guidelines.

The 27-year-old de Belin has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman and now faces an extended period out of the competition. The new NRL season starts March 14.

The Australian Rugby League Commission, which administers the NRL, met on Thursday before announcing the changes to the game's disciplinary policy concerning players who are accused of serious crimes.

Previously, players who pleaded not guilty to alleged offenses were allowed to continue playing while the matters were dealt with in court. Under the new policy, any player who is charged with an offense that carries a prison term of 11 years or more will be automatically suspended.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg, who unsuccessfully tried to convince de Belin to voluntarily stand down pending his court case, also has the discretionary powers to suspend players charged with offenses involving the assault of women or children.

The NRL was heavily criticized for not suspending de Belin when the charges and court testimony relating to the incident were first released.

"The change has occurred after extensive consultation across the community and amongst stakeholders," ARLC chairman Peter Beattie said. "My responsibility, and the responsibility of my fellow commissioners, is to act in the best interests of the entire game and to take a leadership position when it comes to acts of violence against women in particular."

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Related News

'Crazy' good: Federer into 4th round at...

Jan 20, 2017

Roger Federer showed that his first two wins against qualifiers at the Australian Open really were...

Chinese sportswear brand makes inroads in tennis...

Jan 20, 2017

Svetlana Kuznetsova has a different look than most tennis players

Venus focused on tennis, not age, in record 73rd...

Jan 20, 2017

One could never accuse Venus Williams of being sensitive about her age

Nadal holds off Zverev to reach 4th round at...

Jan 21, 2017

Rafael Nadal had a good, hard look at the future before pulling a few tricks from his past to hold...

Bryan brothers announce retirement from Davis Cup...

Jan 22, 2017

Bob and Mike Bryan are retiring from playing Davis Cup for the United States after 14 years with...

Tough at the top: Murray, Kerber make 4th-round...

Jan 22, 2017

It was tough at the top for Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open, with both the...

Live Score

www.unogoal.xyz